May 29, 2012
Hundreds of Students, Officials to Celebrate Citywide Classroom Civics Program at Event TodayMore than 200 students from 10 Philadelphia public schools will join judges, leaders of the Philadelphia legal community and officials of the National Constitution Center today (Tuesday, May 29) from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Center at 525 Arch St. for a lively, citizenship-themed panel discussion to celebrate the award-winning Advancing Civics Education (ACE) program. Launched in 2008 by the 13,000-member Philadelphia Bar Association, ACE is a program in partnership with Philadelphia public schools and the National Constitution Center that brings teams of volunteer lawyers and judges into 5th grade and high school classrooms to provide supplemental civics education, including the fundamental principles of citizenship, democracy and dispute resolution. More than 150 volunteer attorneys and judges have already participated in ACE, with 14 high schools and two elementary schools being touched by the program. In December, Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor John E. Savoth announced the expansion of the program into additional elementary schools, as well as the creation of an ACE website that will be formally announced at today's event.
At the event, students and volunteer teams will celebrate their hard work with a day of activities and programming based on the theme "Our Rights and Responsibilities as Citizens." A welcome to attendees will be provided by John E. Savoth, Chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association; and David Eisner, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center. Following the welcome, a panel discussion will be held with civic leaders based on students' responses to the question, "What are the top five issues or things that affect your rights and responsibilities as a citizen?" The top 10 answers selected by ACE committee members will guide the panel discussion. Participating panelists will include Kenyatta Johnson, Philadelphia City Councilman; and Marsha Levick, Deputy Director and Chief Counsel of the Juvenile Law Center. The discussion will be moderated by Philadelphia attorney Kenneth Holdsman. Kathleen D. Wilkinson, Chancellor-Elect of the Philadelphia Bar Association, will present certificates to the teachers that will be distributed to all students who have participated in the ACE program. Following the presentation, students will experience the award-winning theatrical performance Freedom Rising and tour the Center.